We drove into Prague after a cold night of camping. For all of us this would be our first trip to this historic city. We had just secured a great apartment in the Jewish Quarter thanks to Prague-Stay apartments – a place where we could get a good night’s sleep, great internet, and a perfect spot for some very quick site seeing. We only had one day in Prague – which is actually just a tease if you ask me. But then again, that’s what this whole trip is about – quickly racing through countries and cities I’ve never been to before giving me a quick preview to see if I want to come back one day and see more. The Rally is not actually a race…it’s a testament of will and ingenuity if you actually make it to the end. But there is no prize for making it there first. However, my teammates and I all do have other commitments to do in September – so we do have some self imposed timeframes that we’ve given our team. This means that we pretty much have to keep moving every day…and quickly.
Daniel from Prague-Stay Apartments met us and let us into our apartment. We ooo’d and aaah’d as we walked through the classic old Prague home with high ceilings, intricate French doors, and rod iron balconies overlooking the Jewish Quarter. Once again this convinced me that with multiple people traveling together, staying in an apartment short term is the most economical way to travel. Daniel gave us maps and oriented us to our surroundings. We quickly took our bags threw them in our palatial rooms and took off for some touring around Prague.
Dave, Deb, and Rick went off on a Segway tour of Prague and I took off for a bicycle tour of the city – both tours offered by Viator.com. After all of the sitting in the car day after day some exercise sounded good to me. However I hadn’t counted on getting sick. I woke up that morning with a sinus headache and hacking cough. And just think, my lucky teammates get to be locked in a small car with me for days hacking away!
My bike tour was a great way to get around the city fast. We saw some of the main sites and some of the more obscure sites too such as art installations by David Cerny that I never would have found on my own. The architecture of the city was what I enjoyed most; colorful, intricate buildings and grand theaters and churches. Everywhere we rode in the city was meticulously maintained and so many of the buildings had been refurbished. It was tourist heaven.
The bike tour was well run, yet the cobblestone streets provided some challenges for the less comfortable riders. Plus, dodging pedestrians and cars was a bit nerve-wracking, but overall I enjoyed the tour. We’d ride for about 5 minutes and then we’d stop and our guide would tell us about the history or importance of a place often interjecting unique stories into his history lesson. If photography is your thing though, I would probably recommend a slower walking tour of the city or simply go out early in the morning and wander around with your camera.
I spent the rest of my short time in Prague walking around the Old Town Square coughing, sniffling, and looking for a pharmacy with no luck. However I did find some yummy cabbage and pork pancakes – a Czech specialty. There’s certainly nothing light about the food in eastern Europe. The one thing that did surprise me about Prague is how expensive it was. We entered the part of the globe where beer is cheaper than water.
Even though time was short I was able to get a feel for the city and know that I’d love to come back and spend more time digging into it’s culture outside of the tourist trail. But Mongol Rally duty calls and we must keep moving!
What would you do if you had one day in Prague? Please share in the comments!
All photos from my short Prague stay:
How to donate to our charity – the Christina Nobel Foundation – we are still collecting donations along the way!
Disclosure: Our apartment in Prague was provided by Prague-Stay.com and our tours were provided by viator.com. However, all of the opinions expressed here though are my own – as you know how I love to speak my mind!
By Emily August 3, 2011 - 10:11 am
Hi Sherry! An adventure with time limits always makes everything more exciting–make sure you take care of yourself though! Sleep sleep and more sleep always does it for me–and if you can, since you can’t find a pharmacy–see if you can get yourself a clove or two of garlic (and maybe where a mask in the car for the sake of your travel teammates 😉 ). I wish I’d made time to go to Prague when I was in Europe–it looks so gorgeous and I need to try some of their famous Pilsner!
Feel better! Drive safely!
By Matt August 3, 2011 - 1:58 pm
I love Praha. I was there about 15 years ago. We spent 5 days there and stayed in a school classroom that had been turned into a hostel for the summer. Of all the places I visited in Europe, this is the city I want to go back to most…
By Emily in Chile August 3, 2011 - 5:10 pm
I love those buildings!
By Erik August 3, 2011 - 9:15 pm
Central Square, Charles Bridge, Castle, Beer.
By Mark H August 5, 2011 - 9:03 pm
It’s such a great shame you don’t have more time at this most charismatic of European cities.
By Natalie T. September 3, 2011 - 1:08 am
Prague is pretty but for me, there was an emptiness to it. Somehow, I ended up there for a few days longer than anticipated and didn’t see certain things I wanted to like the Dancing House. I would have liked to have spent more time in the Alfonsa Mucha museum. He is a brilliant artist. And if you are charmed by Prague, I highly recommend getting back to the Charles Bridge and going up to the Tower. Though it’s touristy, it offers a fantastic view from above. My other top tip is to get down to the countryside. I was absolutely charmed by Cesky Krumlov. It may be more expensive now but it is about half the cost of anything in Prague. I went five years ago and it was getting pricey than. A poor man’s Paris it is NOT. That said, if you’re on the outskirts of Prague (Holesovice), there are very cheap restaurants there and a hockey arena if that’s something that would interest you.
By Sherry September 3, 2011 - 8:41 am
Thanks for all of the great advice! 1 day in Prague was not enough. That’s the problem with the rally – you have to keep moving every day. However – I will go back and visit again with more time!
By Crystal September 12, 2011 - 11:16 pm
Charles Bridge – go to the top of one of the towers for a great scenic view of the rooftops and take time to watch some of the artists working along the bridge
Castle – rent an audio tour for great explanations of the niches and architecture
Walking Tour – starting in Nicholas Square, it’s a great 2 – 3 hour way to hit the highlights
Concert – at the south end of Charles Bridge are at least 2 churches and outside during the day will be ticket booths where you can purchase a ticket for an evening concert. I will never forget the trumpet playing Ave Maria in the beautiful cathedral – one of my highlights of the whole trip!
We stayed in a pension and took a city bus back and forth to downtown – not too expensive, easy to navigate to and fro and there were awesome restaurants nearby.
We took the train from Katowice, Poland to Prague in September and it was such a beautiful drive. I hope you get to go back soon!
Good luck with the Rally!!